Having lost her stable star for the season, Lucinda Russell is hoping that Forest des Aigles can fill the void.

One For Arthur, who became Scotland’s second winner of the Grand National at Aintree last April, is out for the season with a tendon injury but Russell is pleased with his recuperation.

"All is going to plan with his recovery," she said. "He's on the walker. He'll be turned out very soon and we've got a water-walker that will help as well. He's coming along nicely."

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In the meantime, Forest des Aigles has won four of his last five starts, going up 24lbs in the handicap as a result.

That means Russell is raising her sights with the seven-year-old and is looking at two major races at either Ascot or Haydock later this month.

"He's improving quickly," Russell added. "We're looking at a race at Ascot on the 20th of this month. I think that might suit him, it's over two and a half miles and is worth over £70,000. It will be Ascot or Haydock for the Peter Marsh [on the same day], or there's even a race at Kelso for him [the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase on February 15).

"Basically, he desperately needs heavy ground, so wherever the ground is softest he'll run. He's progressing nicely and we've had nice little breaks between his races."

The prospect of heavy ground at Chepstow, however, is giving Philip Hobbs second thoughts about running Rock The Kasbah in the Coral Welsh Grand National tomorrow.

Another trainer who has weather concerns is Gavin Cromwell who was last night still hoping to get his two intended runners to Wales despite travel difficulties with ferry crossings from Ireland.

Raz de Maree, who was runner-up last season, is due to be ridden by star 5lb claimer James Bowen and Cromwell also has Famous Milly entered for the Grade One Finale Juvenile Hurdle.

"With Famous Milly her race seems to be cutting up so it would be a shame to miss it,” he said. “We just have to get there first. Raz De Maree was second last year and while he's another year older, this has been the aim. He's in great nick, I'm very happy with him and looking forward to running him."

It was Native River who ploughed through the mud to win last year’s Welsh National but now Colin Tizzard is hoping for a dry spell so he can give the horse a racecourse gallop ahead of his intended comeback run in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on February 10th.

"He's been galloping for over two months. He's fine” Tizzard said. "We did think about a hurdle race, but we'll wait for the Denman."